Elegance Personified: Dowsett-Ave. Estate for Sale

Augie Salbosa Photography
This Bertram Goodhue-designed estate on Dowsett Ave. has been owned by the same kamaaina family for 65 years.

My favorite part of a home tour happens before I even reach the front door: I love coming up the driveway, watching as a home slowly reveals itself. And this Dowsett-Ave. residence, which is set back from the road, hidden behind a sentinel-like row of towering shrubs, has a big reveal. But not the kind you get with so many of the newer homes, which have larger-than-life, demanding presences. No, with this house, I felt as if I’d been transported to a French countryside estate full of old-time, graceful elegance. It’s a classy grande dame of a home, and it makes me happy to know that these places still quietly exist here on Oahu.

A kamaaina family with deep ties to the Islands has owned the 3.72-acre property for the past 65 years, and now that the kids are all grown up and have moved on, the family has decided to downsize. New York City-based Bertram Goodhue, the renowned architect of the Honolulu Academy of Arts and C. Brewer Building in downtown Honolulu, designed this six-bedroom, six-and-a-half bath home, infusing Old Hawaii architectural details with French, Spanish and Mediterranean influences.

The architectural flourishes have a “feminine” quality, says listing agent Tracy Allen, and, indeed, there is nothing hard-edged or masculine about the home, with its ornate, gray-blue exterior ironwork and shutters, arched doorways and crown molding. Perhaps the most striking details are the views from each room. From the rear of the house, every room looks out over the sloped lot and the lush, tropical backyard, which is bisected by Nuuanu Stream and a waterfall. From the front of the home, you can see out onto the immaculately maintained front lawn, a sea of green punctuated by a red brick courtyard, blue-tiled, heated swimming pool (installed in the 1980s) and giant magnolia and monkeypod trees (there are seven total on the property).

The main floor of the house consists of a living room, family room, sitting room and dining room, all of which flow effortlessly into the other. Each room has walls of windows and refurbished pocketing glass and screen doors that slide open to access either the front courtyard or a sizeable balcony. The balcony is the best seat in the house, with completely unfettered views of the greenery below, and is large enough to accommodate both an open-air section and, accessible from a small breakfast nook in the kitchen, a glass-covered sunroom—Sunday-brunch central. The kitchen, which has ample storage space, was renovated in the 1980s, so a new buyer may wish to modernize, though it’s completely functional. Behind the kitchen are the maids’ quarters, with two bedrooms and a full bath.

The second floor consists entirely of living quarters, including the airy master suite, complete with its own fireplace, built-in bookcases, spacious balcony, his-and-hers bathrooms and massive walk-in closets. There are two additional bedrooms, each en suite, and with their own balconies. The bedrooms and bathrooms are sizeable and charming, though new owners will likely want to upgrade the baths.

This house is big on storage. There’s a 1,200-sq.-ft.-plus attic accessible via the second floor, which, says Allen, could be converted to additional bedrooms. There’s also a small basement storage area with a full bathroom for the use of the yard maintenance crew.

Additionally, in the front corner of the property by the pool sits the guest cottage. A darling, one-bedroom, one-bath affair, the cottage has a small-but-user-friendly kitchen, cozy sitting area and its own driveway, so guests need not disturb the homeowners.

Money talk: The property is listed at $8,395,000.
Contact: Tracy Allen, Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties, 596-0456, tracy@cbpacific.com. www.tracyallenhawaii.com.